Six people who barricaded themselves inside St. Emeric Catholic Church in Cleveland, Ohio to protest its closing said they gave up only to prevent police from damaging the church with a battering ram, the Ethics Daily website reports today (July 5, 2010).
After the daylong standoff ended at 4 p.m. on July 1, Deacon Jim Armstrong of the Cleveland Catholic Diocese said Bishop Richard Lennon had agreed to meet with the protesters to discuss their concerns.
St. Emeric, a Hungarian parish on Cleveland's near West Side, is among 50 churches ordered to be closed as part of the diocese's downsizing. It was closed June 30.
Bishop Lennon said the downsizing plan was necessary, because of Catholics leaving the city, a shortage of priests, and dwindling collections.